Raw, earthy and rooted in nature, the Sienna House is a weekend home that draws inspiration from its surrounding. Located 90 km from Mumbai in Khopoli, Maharashtra, the house is perched on a tableland, 1200 ft above sea level, against the backdrop of the Western Ghats. One of the first houses in the upcoming Serenity Villas and Farms development, this house by SAGI Architects is designed to set the architectural character for the rest of the plots. The visual and spatial characteristics of the house come together to create a sense of openness and transparency that allow its inhabitants to connect with nature.

The design uses simple geometry and expansive open spaces to reimagine a pavilion-style home that responds to the climate and site conditions. The house is envisioned as an inward-looking sanctuary for a family that loves spending time with each other as much as hosting their loved ones. The design strikes a balance between the natural and built spaces. With warm, muted walls and reddish-brown Mangalore tiles, the Sienna House blends effortlessly into its backdrop.

The house sits on a portion of land carved out on the 1.5-acre plot – creating a defined, intimate space for the family. A 4 ft-high wall made from the local laterite stones defines the boundary of this ‘plot within a plot.’ Three rectangular masses are arranged on the inner plot to develop a simple layout of three bedrooms, a living area, and a kitchen along with expansive open spaces. This layout is the largest possible configuration of the modular plan. The grid-based layout allows for a similar arrangement that can be replicated on other plots in the development. By eliminating a block or two, the house can be easily configured to design a studio, one- or two-bedroom home.

To create this modular grid, the house is a composite of pre-fabricated structural steel and load-bearing walls, cutting down on construction costs and time. Built by local villagers, the Sienna House uses locally-sourced materials and construction techniques, providing avenues of work for the locals.

A driveway from the road on the south leads to the entrance of the home, which extends into an expansive 375 sq. ft-pavilion. On the east-west axis of the house are the most intimate spaces – the swimming pool and the deck that tie the rest of the areas together. Flanked by the living room, bedrooms and kitchen – the pavilion houses the dining area and overlooks the pool which doubles as a space for parties and private music events. The staff quarters are located outside the inner plot boundary, ensuring privacy yet proximity to the house.

Bringing the earthy and raw colours and textures indoors, the interiors are furnished with warm hues of yellow, grey and blue. The living room and bedrooms are clutter-free, focusing on the biophilic design elements to foster a connection with nature. The minimal, English-style furniture is made of natural pinewood as an expression of the client’s fondness for classic pieces. Nature makes its way into every corner of the home. Full-height windows towards the north and lofty ceilings fill the house with natural light while minimising heat gain and promoting cross-ventilation. Each bathroom extends to a semi-open alley, offering an experience that the city typically does not.

The landscape undertakes a sustainable approach, minimising the need for excessive gardening in a region with a low groundwater table. Local, indigenous shrubs and palms are a part of the inner plot, enveloping the house in greens. Over a period of time, either natural vegetation or fruit orchards and vegetable gardens will make up the landscape of the rest of the plot. Boulders from a nearby excavation are brought to the site to add to the rustic and raw charm of the house. The Sienna House is an honest manifestation of a weekend retreat that provides open spaces to its inhabitants and a connection to nature.



Name of Client: Serenity Villas and Farms
Name of Client’s Firm: Swara Hills Partners

Site Area (sq ft & sq m): 1.5 Acres (Approx 65500 sq ft)
Built-Up Area (sq ft & sq m: 2500 sq ft

Photographer & Styling: Ruhma Ukaye

Sienna House | Project Collaborators
Glass: Saint Gobain
Sanitaryware/Fittings: Hindware and Jaguar
Furniture: Indoor: Ikea
Furniture: Outdoor: Higold
Lighting: True Light
Paint: Asian Paints
Artwork/Artefacts: IKEA

Structural: Structures

Principal Architect/Designer: Akash Dudhe
Design Team: Milan Jain, Ashish Gavand


Ruhma Ukaye